Top 5 Tips for Local Businesses to Rule the Local SEO Competition!

More and more people using Google search are seeing more local results thrown up on the top. They are bombarded with local options for nearly everything they search especially when on a mobile device. Hence now it is more important for businesses with a local base targeting to target and top the local search metrics. Here we are listing top 5 Tips for local SEO to top local search results and boost their traffic and business.

1) Claim Your Online Listing: This is the first and the most important step. You need to claim your listing on Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local. Once you fill out your details after creating an account on these platforms, you will need to verify your business details through a straight forward process of post card verification or a phone call. Once it is done you are ready for the next steps. If you don’t have a physical address on some location or don’t want people to know your real business address and have reason to keep it discreet you can use certain services which provide you with business mail forwarding and other services (please keep in mind that use of these services is in the grey area and should be avoided for all practical purposes.

2) Optimize your Listings: Putting in accurate and detailed business information such as address and phone number, is of utmost importance. Opening closing times and days of operation etc. are required. Description of your business activities is very important as well as using your keywords in the text as well. Use high quality images and videos of your business. This is of utmost importance as it plays a major role in enhancing user experience. Leaving any of the important field in the listings blank is not recommended. Accurate information that is optimized to help you rank well and also to attract your potential clients and impress them is the key to proper local SEO.

3) Online Business Reviews: Reviews are another important part of your local Listing. Reviews play a super crucial role in local SEO and most of the local listing sites are completely fine with businesses requesting their customers to leave a review. You should request your customers for writing a review through e-mails, invoices, contact form and thank you pages, among other places. Keep in mind any review is good for business, even negative ones. However keep in mind not to have too many bad reviews. No business is perfect and negative reviews are part of business life. Many businesses are afraid of bad reviews, but keep in mind no company can keep 100% of their customers happy. Another important thing to remember is that many potential customers may find it suspicious if a company only has positive reviews.

4) Optimizing your Website: Optimizing your website is also crucial. Display a local phone number prominently on your homepage and landing page in text format (don’t use image) and mention your local business address again in text format only. Make sure that the phone number is a real working local phone number with local dialing code mentioned and not an 1800/800 type of number. Also make sure to use the full mailing address of your business and make sure that the details are same as used on the listing and there is no difference. Make use of schema to optimize your website. Use multiple landing pages if your business caters to different geo locations. Optimize each page according to the targeted location.

5) Local Citations: It is important to list your business in the local directories and local classifieds sites. The search engine algorithms still depend on these to gather more information about the business and their popularity. So use sites such yelp, yellow pages etc. to list your business and help boost your local rankings.

These five top tips will help you in your endeavor to boost your online presence and help you beat the local SEO competition.

How to Write a Food Industry or Catering Business Proposal

Do you need to write a proposal to promote your food-related business to a prospective client or to get funding? It doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. The goals for any business proposal are: introduce yourself, highlight your products and/or services, describe the costs, and convince the client that you are the right choice for the job or you are worth investing in. To speed up the proposal writing process, you can use pre-designed templates and get ideas from sample proposals.

Whether you are describing a catering service, pitching a food service (deli) to be installed within another company, buying or selling a food franchise or food vending business, requesting that a grocery store of specialty store chain carry your food product, or even asking for funding to start up or expand a restaurant, the proposal structure will be similar. Here’s the basic structure to follow: introduce yourself, then summarize the prospective client’s needs, describe your services and costs, and finally, provide information about your organization, your credentials, and your capabilities.

For a food-related business, you will also need to include some detailed information about your services, menus, or products that are of interest to the specific client. For example, a catering service might need to include menus and décor themes from which the client can select, and a food vending operation might need to explain how machines will be operate and which items will be stocked.

Always keep in mind that the purpose of a proposal is to persuade your potential clients to give you their business or loan you their money. You must prove that you can deliver the products or services they need. A simple price list can never substitute for a real proposal.

Proposals should be targeted to a specific client. This means you need to gather information about your client so that you can present a proposal tailored to that individual client’s needs. It’s never a good idea to send all prospective clients the same sales letter. Clients are much more likely to accept a proposal tailored just for them.

So, let’s get back to the order described above. Start your proposal with a Cover Letter and a Title Page. The Cover Letter should deliver a brief personal introduction and contain your company contact information. The Title Page is just what it sounds like: the name of your specific proposal (for example, “Proposed Catering Plan for Your Awards Banquet”, “Proposal to Place Food Vending Machines in Community College Buildings” or “Business Plan Funding for Hot Stuff Bakery”).

After this introduction section, add topics that describe the needs of your client. If you are presenting a proposal for a complex project, you may need to write a summary to precede the detail pages. In a proposal for a corporate client, this is normally called an Executive Summary. For a less formal but still complex proposal, it’s more often called a Client Summary. In this summary and the following detail pages, you should demonstrate your understanding of the client’s requirements, goals, and desires, as well as discussing any restrictions or limitations you are aware of. This section should be all about the client.

Next is your chance to advertise yourself. Follow your introduction section and the client section with pages that describe what you are offering. These pages might have general headings like Services Provided, Samples (offering the client to pre-sample selections from your menu or food products), Benefits, and Services Cost Summary, Product Cost Summary, Entertainment (if provided with food service) as well as more specific pages that detail the products and/or services you can provide and explain the associated costs, the number of people that will be served and so on.

Your specific business will determine the specialized topics and pages you need to include in your proposal.

A catering service might need to include topics like Specialization (to highlight a specific niche you excel in) Services Provided, Options, Cost Summary, Events, Entertainment, Rentals, Special Needs, Policies and a Contract and Terms.

A deli or fast food franchise might want pages such as a Location Analysis, Future Potential, Financial Information, Income Project, Feasibility Study and other business opportunity templates describing the business opportunity.

A company selling a product to a store might include Product Cost Summary or Price List, Distribution, Market and Audience, Marketing Plan, Ingredients, Packaging, Footprint, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Quality Control and Benefits.

Specialty businesses such as event planners, party planners and wedding planners typically have to incorporate catering services as just one component of a larger proposal and will deal with additional topics such as the Venue, Performers, Products, Logistics, Packages and so on.

A business proposing to provide school lunches for students would need to provide additional details to show they can handle the volume and safety requirements. You can add topics for Requirements, Facilities, Safety Plan, Training Plan (for how your employees are trained), Certifications, Insurance, Quality Control, Experience, Capabilities, Capacity and so forth.

If you’re asking for funding to start a food business (anything from a coffee shop or bakery to a full size restaurant), you’ll want to add pages such as a Competitive Analysis, Industry Trends, Market and Audience, Marketing Plan, Insurance, Liability, Time Line, Funding Request, Services Provided, Products, Company Operations, Balance Sheet, Income Projection, Sources of Funds, Uses of Funds, Personnel, Legal Structure and any other topics required by the lender.

In your last proposal section, provide your company details, including pages such as Company History or About Us, Capabilities, Testimonials, Our Clients, or References. Your goal in this section is to convince the prospective client that you can be trusted to deliver the goods and/or services they need and want.

Those are the basic steps for organizing and writing the proposal. But you’re not quite finished yet. After you have all the information down on the pages, focus on ensuring that your proposal is visually appealing. Incorporate your company logo, use colored page borders, and/or select interesting fonts and custom bullets to add color and flair. Just be sure to match your company style when making these selections.

To finalize your proposal, it’s essential to proofread and spell-check every page. It’s always a good idea to get someone other than the proposal writer to do a final proof, because it’s very common to overlook mistakes in your own work.

When the final touches have been completed, print it or save it as a PDF file, and then deliver it to the client. The delivery method you should use will depend on your relationship with your potential client. While it’s common to email PDF files to clients, a nicely printed, personally signed, and hand-delivered proposal may make more of an impression and demonstrate that you’re willing to make an extra effort for the client.

So, to sum up, a food-business proposal can vary widely in content depending on the business and the project. Each company’s proposal contents will need to be a bit different. But all these proposals will have a similar format and follow a similar structure.

If you’d like to get a jump start using pre-designed templates with simple instructions and tons of suggestions for content, you can use Proposal Pack which includes all of the material mentioned above. The product also includes many sample food business proposals that will give you great ideas and help you easily create your own successful proposal.

What Is Life and Business Coaching?

What is Coaching?
Life coaching is a service that helps clients with life improvement, specifically working toward reaching goals. As income and education levels rise in our society, so does the demand for coaching. People are consistently looking for help in organizing and strategizing ways to reach their goals. People know, if they can reach their goals, they will have an overall better quality of life. Coaching has taken flight and has become an international service. Coaching is not only for individuals. Coaching is often done with couples, in groups, and for businesses. Often times businesses request “lunch and learns.” The company selects a topic, and during the employee’s lunches, a coach coaches them on this particular issue. Some topics include, team building, conflict management and diversity and sensitivity. Coaching services are offered face to face, over the phone and via the internet.

Coaching uses clients’ internal motivation and drive to propel them into reaching their goals. Goals are often centered on career advancement, life improvement, fitness and or weight control, increase sports performance, drug or alcohol rehabilitation, academics, parenting, enhanced relationship satisfaction, and adolescents. A life coach will help you to develop goals and minimize the barriers which block goal attainment. Together you and your life coach will review some techniques that did not work in the past, and revise the action plan in order to move forward. There is very limited focus on the past, and more focus on the here and now and future.

Many people are unaware of the differences between coaching and therapy. Both coaching and therapy focus on assisting people with goal achievement, however coaching places a strong emphasis on the future, where the client plans to go and the steps to get there. Therapy often places more focus than coaching does on the past and examines the psychological issues that have led to the problems. Coaching attempts to move the client forward quickly and works to remove barriers that hinder progress. Coaching also does not involve any diagnosis or treatment of a mental disorder. When selecting a coach, you want to ensure competency. A coach does not have to be certified to coach. Be sure you are reading reviews and checking credentials. Look for a coach who is certified, experienced and or has a degree closely related to the field.

Overall, you will find that coaching is a service that is structured to help you meet your goals. Your drive, determination and motivation will be extracted and together you and your coach will devise a plan that will quickly lead you toward goal attainment. Your coach will assist in organizing the pursuit of your goals and you will activate the plan. Be prepared to achieve!